Celebrating the book releases of a few friends

There’s nothing like cheering on a friend as their new book baby is born to the world. Put your hands together to help celebrate the release of amazing books by four of my talented Austin friends.


Author Don Tate
IT JES’ HAPPENED (Lee & Low Books, April 2012)

As an enslaved boy on an Alabama farm in the early 1860s, Bill
Traylor worked in the hot cotton fields. After slavery ended, Bill’s
family stayed on the land as sharecroppers.
By the time he was 79, Bill was all alone in the world. Lonely, poor
and eventually homeless, he wandered the downtown streets of Montgomery,
Alabama. But deep within himself Bill had a reservoir of memories of
his lifetime spent on the land. When he was 83 years old, these memories
blossomed into pictures. Bill began to draw people and places from his
earlier life, as well as scenes from the busy city around him. Today,
Bill Traylor is considered one of the most important American
self-taught artists.

Author Greg Leitich Smith
CHRONAL ENGINE (Clarion Books, March 2012)

When Max, Emma, and Kyle are sent to live with their reclusive
grandfather for the summer, they’re dismayed to learn he thinks there’s a
time machine in the basement.
But when Grandpa Pierson predicts the exact time of his own heart
attack, and when Emma is kidnapped by what can only be a time traveler,
they realize he was telling the truth about the Chronal Engine.  And if
they want their sister back, they’ll have to do it themselves.
So Max and Kyle, together with their new friend Petra, pack up their
grandpa’s VW and follow Emma and the kidnapper back in time, to Late
Cretaceous Texas, where the sauropods and tyrannosaurs roam.  Can the
trio find Emma and survive the hazards of the Age of Dinosaurs, or are
they, too, destined to become part of the fossil record?

Author Shana Burg
LAUGH WITH THE MOON (Delacorte Books, June 2012)

Thirteen-year-old Clare Silver is stuck. Stuck in denial about her
mother’s recent death. Stuck in the African jungle for sixty-four days
without phone reception. Stuck with her father, a doctor who seems able
to heal everyone but Clare.
Clare feels like a fish out of water at Mzanga Full Primary School,
where she must learn a new language. Soon, though, she becomes immersed
in her new surroundings and impressed with her fellow students, who are
crowded into a tiny space, working on the floor among roosters and
When Clare’s new friends take her on an outing to see the country,
the trip goes horribly wrong, and Clare must face another heartbreak
head-on. Only an orphan named Memory, who knows about love and loss, can
teach Clare how to laugh with the moon.
Told from an American girl’s perspective, this story about how death
teaches us to live and how love endures through our memories will
capture the hearts of readers everywhere.

Author Nikki Loftin

A deliciously spooky middle-grade debut that’s Coraline meets Hansel and Gretel.     Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy–Principal Trapp
encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are
stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals
featuring all Lorelei’s favorite foods. But the more time she spends at
school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing
so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister?
It’s up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what
secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover
chills their bones–and might even pick them clean!
Mix one part magic, one part mystery, and just a dash of Grimm, and
you’ve got the recipe for a cozy-creepy read that kids will gobble up
like candy.Bravo times four!